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Portland African American Leadership Forum Talks Gentrification and Development

If there’s one thing that Cyreena Boston Ashby is fed up with talking about it’s Trader Joe’s. Ashby directs the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) a group that was highly critical of the deal that would have made Trader Joe’s the anchor tenant of a development on the vacant lot on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Northeast Alberta Street. Ashby says her group’s beefs were never about Trader Joe’s, but about insufficient community input and the way the Portland Development Commission moved forward with the deal, which included substantial taxpayer subsidies. But in the wake of Trader Joe’s dropping out of the deal, she says, media coverage focused on the grocery chain.

PAALF and the North/Northeast Business Association convened a broad community meeting last week, and have another scheduled for Tuesday, March 4, at 6 p.m. at 311 N. Ivy Street. They say they want to hear from both current residents and those who may have been displaced because of gentrification about developments they would like to see.

Do you or have you lived in Northeast Portland? What kinds of developments would you like to see in your neighborhood? How should these decisions be made?


  • Cyreena Boston Ashby: Director of the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF)
  • Avel Gordly: PAALF member; former state legislator; former OPB Board member
  • Isham Harris: Board member of the Concordia Neighborhood Association

Editor’s note: Given the deluge of comments from people who felt we haven’t given enough attention to the members of the neighborhood who support the Trader Joe’s, we’ve decided to have another conversation about this on Thursday, March 6. We’ll be talking to Fred Stewart, a real estate agent and long-time NE Portland resident who is a former head of the King Neighborhood association, and Adam Milne, who owns Old Town Brewing Company.

gentrification pdc affordable housing paalf Trader Joe's

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